IN his brief letter in the June 22 edition of the Journal J Robinson congratulates Jo Platt on her appointment as MP for the Leigh constituency and reminds her that she is also MP for Tyldesley.

His implication that many voters regard Tyldesley as a neglected part of the Wigan borough is shared by many in Atherton.

A good demonstration of Ms Platt’s awareness of these feelings would be for her to be involved in joining with residents in resisting future long-term developments for housing in that huge, immensely valuable green open space referred to as Atherton south, but which also serves to provide all the residents of her constituency, including Leigh and Tyldesley, with access to a desperately needed haven for wildlife and quiet public recreation.

Sadly, Ms Platt steps back in time in the article headlined ‘MP focused on repaying voters’ in the June 15 edition with the comment ‘we will celebrate our heritage by utilising brownfield sites and regenerating them for 21st century housing and businesses’.

This unfortunate term brownfield has been misunderstood by many opponents of unwanted housing developments. They mistakenly regard such sites as ugly and expendable.

They clearly have no appreciation of those sites, which have been reclaimed by nature and provide wonderful opportunities for wildlife and the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those who take the time and trouble to find out what they really have to offer and what opportunities for pleasure they are able to provide.

By all means develop unsightly spacious industrial leftovers, but places like the Bickershaw site – once an ugly coal ruck but destined to be a wonderful country park and, paradoxically, within Wigan’s green belt – North Leigh, part of the Gadbury site at Atherton and several others in our area need to be retained and enhanced for the benefit of ourselves and those who come after us.

It is abundantly clear that the Pennington Flash of 50 years ago would have been dubbed brownfield and developed in ways which would have ruined one of the north west’s most treasured places for wildlife and public enjoyment.

If history tells us anything it is that we learn from our predecessors, and Ms Platt might wish to follow the examples of Lord Peter Smith, Andy Burnham and Bolton West MP Chris Green in dumping the inappropriate term brownfield and using, instead, the more accurately descriptive words of open green spaces.

If Ms Platt’s intention is to celebrate our heritage, it should include our sporting traditions, the former architectural grandeur of our towns, the achievements of all our inhabitants, past and present, and open spaces which will be our lasting legacy for future generations.

David Wilson

Hoylake Close